Activity-based CUAs

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Yellowstone National Park currently issues activity-based CUAs for the following activities. Please select an activity-based CUA for a detailed operating plan.
A family pedals by some thermal features along a paved path on bicycles.

Guided Bicycle Tours

CUA holders can conduct road-based bicycle trips and front-country hiking on boardwalk areas and trails less than ½-mile from the road.

Silhouette of people taking photographs and watching through spotting scopes at a colorful sunset.

Guided Environmental Education Tours

CUA holders can conduct road-based vehicle tours in the park, provide non-instructional photography tours, and act as a step-on guide.

A couple standing on snow at the base of an icy waterfall.

Guided Skiing and Snowshoeing

CUA holders can conduct interpretive nordic skiing, telemark skiing, or snowshoeing trips.

A motorboat crosses a large lake, creating a wake behind it.

Guided Motorized Boating

CUA holders can conduct guided touring or fishing trips in motorized boats on Yellowstone Lake and/or Lewis Lake.

A couple paddles a two-person kayak across a still lake.

Guided Non-motorized Boating

CUA holders can conduct guided touring using non-motorized boats in Yellowstone, Lewis, or Shoshone Lakes.

A woman with a large backpack carefully crosses a small suspension bridge.

Guided, Overnight Backcountry Trips

CUA holders can conduct overnight backcountry camping with an appropriate backcountry permit.

Photographers stands next to a row of cameras set up on tripods.

Guided Painting and Photography

CUA holders can conduct road-based photography and painting workshops that includes in-depth photography and/or painting instruction.

A group of people stand near a small tour bus.

Road-based Tours

Traveling by vehicle on an itinerary that someone has packaged and sold for leisure purposes and provide no other services.

Two anglers stand in a river and cast their lines during an early morning sunrise.

Guided Stream and Shoreline Fishing

CUA holders can conduct guided walk and wade fishing trips in park streams and lakes. Float tube use in lakes is permitted with this CUA.


Activity-Based CUA Requirements

The authorization is issued to an operator to permit the provision of suitable commercial services to park area visitors. The superintendent determines if an operator has the ability to satisfactorily provide visitor services and carry out the terms of the CUA.

The superintendent determines that the commercial services are “suitable”; that is they (a) will have minimal impact on park area’s resources and values; (b) are consistent with the purposes for which the park area was established; and, (c) are consistent with all applicable park area management plans, policies, and regulations.

The holder must agree to comply with all of the general and specific conditions described in the CUA conditions and operating plans. You should familiarize yourself with these documents before applying for a CUA.

All activity-based CUAs are issued for up to one year. The CUA operating year is from January 1 to December 31.
Applications will be accepted beginning October 1st of the year prior to the operating year and will be accepted throughout the operating year. Please submit complete application packets 45 days before your first trip in the park.

All activity-based CUA activities require $300 application fee for each service category due with the application. This fee is not refundable. The initial $300 per service application fee will be credited toward the management fee paid at the end of that operating year.

The management fee is due at the end of the operating year and is based on a percentage of the operating year’s gross receipts. This fee must be paid to the park after the park has reviewed and approved the annual report, which is submitted by January 31st, after the operating year has ended.

Management fee is based on percentage of gross receipts ($300.00 application fee for the operating year acts as a credit towards the following):

  • Less than $250,000: 3% of gross receipts
  • Between $250,000 and $500,000: 4% of gross receipts in addition to the prior amount
  • Over $500,000: 5% of gross receipts in addition to the two prior amounts

“Gross receipts” means the total of all revenues received from services a CUA holder is authorized to provide within Yellowstone National Park.

The CUA holder is responsible for maintaining accounting records that demonstrate evidence of gross receipts and required fee payment. NPS may audit CUA holder financial reports at any time.

National Park Service Policy requires the Superintendent to charge a reasonable fee for CUAs. The park retains such fees to help pay for the cost of the CUA program, including administration, evaluations, monitoring, and training.
Annual Financial Reports and Management Fee Calculation Forms, which cover the operating year and require reporting of gross receipts and visitors served for each month of that year, are due by January 31st following the end of the operating year. A separate Financial Report and Management Fee Calculation forms are required for each activity a CUA holder has a CUA for. Annual Financial Report and Management Fee Calculation forms will be available by October 1st of each operating year. The Concessions Management Office will review all Annual Report and Management Fee Calculation Fee Forms for accuracy and inform the CUA holder when payment of management fees can be made.
Commercial Use Authorization applicants and holders must make all payments for application fees and management fees through
Three lines of snowmobiles wait for their drivers to return.

Commercial Use Authorizations (CUAs)

The National Park Service requires specific authorizations for commercial businesses to operate in national parks.

A group of visitors wearing helmets and riding horses across a field.

Resources for Commercial Guides

Download or review resources for anyone who may routinely work with visitors to Yellowstone National Park.

Cars and trucks line both sides of the road, created congestion on the road.

Service-based CUAs

These include towing, tire repair, RV and RV appliance repair, locksmith, and water access.

A lone angler casts a line into a flowing stream.

Application Process and Insurance Needs

Here is everything you need to know about submitting a CUA application, including insurance requirements.

Last updated: April 28, 2021

Contact the Park

Mailing Address:

PO Box 168
Yellowstone National Park, WY 82190-0168



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